Friday, July 12, 2013

June 17, 2013 One of my very favorite letters from Justin

Hello Family and Friends,
¡Saludos de Mexico! How are you all doing? I am doing really well. This past week was a great past week! It was very good and I loved it very much. We had a lot of success with a lot of lessons given, a lot of investigators in church and it’s such a blessing that many want to change their lives and come to Christ. Thank you so much for your prayers because they are for sure being answered.
The weather here is sooooo bipolar!!! It was super hot earlier this past week, then on Thursday it got super humid and cloudy, and then Friday super rainy and cool. And now we are at 40 Celsius (like 100+). I can never get a grip on this weather but gotta keep working through the thick and thin (I believe that’s the phrase).
Baptism of Carolina
We had the baptism of Carolina.
She is Yolanda´s daughter and she was sooo excited to get baptized. She is the pioneer in her family because the rest of the family has other repentance processes and Carolina wanted to get baptized as soon as possible. So then we helped her prepare and on Friday was baptized. It was very neat to see all of her family there supporting her. She is seriously the pioneer in her family (other than her aunt and uncle who are in the ward); she is 9 years old and is such a joy. She is also very, very brave and it made me feel pathetic compared to how brave she is because all of her family were criticizing her for her decision and the only ones that were helping her were her mom, aunt and uncle, and us. Her grandma was seriously with the attitude of disowning her, but she made her decision and I know that she will be blessed. Reminds me of the example of Nephi in the book of Mormon and 1 Nephi 3:7, I learned something from Carolina to be brave and strong with decisions, especially the ones with God because God prepares the path to fulfill what God wants with us.
Carolina's Baptism

This past week was interesting because we got to know a new family that has a couple of issues that I can completely relate with. The family is called the Ramos family. 2 weeks ago, we were in church and a dad with his 2 sons arrived to church. We asked who they were and turned out that the dad is a member but taking his kids to church. His kids aren’t members but are preparing to be baptized this coming Saturday by their dad. His kids are named Moroni and Angel and they are 14 and 9 years old. Well come to find out that the kids only visit their dad on the weekends and stay with their mom during the week, as  well as that the mom actually lives in the same neighborhood as us. We went to go visit Moroni and Angel in their mom´s house and come to find out that the mom is a member and the mom and dad divorced. They were very active and everything but the kids was very young when the parents got the divorce. And from time to time went to visit their dad. They never went to church but now the dad decided to take his kids to church. Does this sound anything familiar dad? Well I seriously feel for this family and I definitely can relate to this family because I was in the same exact situation as Moroni. So these last lessons have been helping them to become stronger family/families. What really got my heart was yesterday. We went over to the dad´s house for Angel´s b-day party to teach them and they invited us. The Mom was at the party as well; it was like if the family was back together again. There at the party was only dad, mom and kids. It really touched me because they were all happy and the kids were sooo happy, Angel even said that ``this day is the best day ever because my family is here and the Elders are here on my birthday´´. 
Ramos Family for Angels birthday
When we had to go, the brother offered to give us a ride to our next appointment (he only had 2 hours left with his kids for that weekend visit, but opted to still sacrifice his time to give us a ride), and we began to talk a bit. I never really got to know the brother that well so I took advantage of the opportunity to get to know him. So I asked him about how is his Father´s day and he said that it’s all right but he hates this day (wow I thought I was talking to my dad that’s Mexican haha). And began breaking down and I really felt for the guy. He is a great father and trying to do everything possible for his kids, he said that he doesn’t really understand God for punishing him with not being able to be with his kids all the time. I really was heart wrenched because this very same situation happened to me but just in a different viewpoint. But what I told him is that he is a great father and that his kids love him to death. I also said that this life is full of trial, but there are blessings after every trial and life, if we do what’s right, always ends up in happiness. I started sharing about my own personal experience with divorce and broken families, and I am truly grateful for my life because I can help people like Brother Victor and his family. I am truly blessed because my dad remarried and has a beautiful family. I have a great step mom that cares for me and loves me; she always asks about if I am safe because she really cares. I have a very intelligent brother, Jack, that is very humble and kind, and is a great athlete as well, a great example for me. I also have a great brother, Noah, that is funny and always caring, he is a delight and really a light in my life. I also have my sister, Kate who is an absolute sweetheart and she has been big joy and is always positive and happy, if it weren’t for her, life would be depressing for me for a lot that has happened because she has really picked me up with her happiness in depressing times. If it weren’t for the divorce, they wouldn’t be in my life. And in my own family that has been here since I was little, in my dad, mom, Josh and Bri; they are all a great blessing because of making a broken family become 2 functioning families. My dad is a great example to me and I really look up to him and my Mom has taught me many useful things and is very caring as well. Without them I wouldn’t be me now and without Josh and Brianna, well less because they are great blessings to me as well. And we all have our problems in our families, but we have really made a separation in our family become a blessing. We all communicate with our parents and everything is at peace. I then shared with him, that if it weren´t for the divorce, I wouldn´t have such great blessings like the ones I have in my family today. I have 5 brothers and sisters and they are all a great blessing to me. I love them very much, I miss them and I am grateful for the hardships I have had in my earlier life to have the blessings that I have today. I challenged him to look for the blessings in your family now and pray to God always because he will guide you. It was a seriously spiritual moment and I am grateful to be here in the mission to help families grow stronger and be more blessed. I love this family to death because we relate.
Remember to love your family members and when times are tough in your family, look for the blessings. Don’t focus on the glass half empty but in the glass half full. God always blesses and we are surrounded by many. Life shouldn’t be always depressing or sad, it’s meant to be happy. Cherish every moment with your family members as well and love them all for who they are.
I love the mission, it’s a great experience and I love you all.
Elder Justin Powell


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